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Are Vitamin D Supplements Necessary

Vitamin D is required to support musculoskeletal health. In a recent article, NPS MedicineWise reviewed the Australian Therapeutic Guidelines for supplementing with Vitamin D.

Of interest:

  • Despite living in one of the sunniest places on the planet 1 in 5 Australians do not get enough Vitamin D to support musculoskeletal health
  • “The recommended daily adequate intake (AI) of vitamin D in Australia is 5 micrograms (200 IU) for children, adolescents and adults aged 19–50 years, 10 micrograms (400 IU) for adults aged 51–70 years, and 15 micrograms (600 IU) for adults over 70 years of age.” 5
  • Vitamin D is found in oily fish, eggs, and meat but dietary sources are insufficient and most people in Australia get Vitamin D3 from the interaction of sunlight exposure on their skin.
  • Vitamin D deficiency is scaled as follows:
    • mild = 30 to 49 nmol/L
    • moderate = 12.5 to 29 nmol/L
    • severe = lower than 12.5 nmol/L
  • Routine testing for vitamin D deficiency of the general population is not supported
  • Those that should be tested:
    • People with limited sun exposure – institutionalised, disabling chronic illness, lifestyle factors that limit sun exposure
    • Fat malabsorption conditions such a coeliac disease or inflammatory bowel disease
    • People with end-stage liver disease
    • Those taking medication that affects Vitamin D metabolism e.g. antiepileptics
    • People with dark skin
  • In healthy people “Australian Therapeutic Guidelines advise that people with serum 25(OH)D concentrations of 50–75 nmol/L are not vitamin D-deficient.”4
  • Although vitamin D plays a significant role in the maintenance of musculoskeletal health, evidence does not support the use of vitamin D supplementation to maintain musculoskeletal health for healthy people.
  • Current recommendations are:
    • to reserve vitamin D supplementation only for people with confirmed vitamin D deficiency, and
    • to undertake vitamin D testing only for people at increased risk of deficiency.

To read the full article Click here>> to go to the NPS MedicineWise website.